In a rapid escalation of measures to prevent the spread of the latest coronavirus, President Rodrigo Duterte placed Luzon as a whole under “enhanced neighborhood quarantine” on Monday, just one day after the quarantine of the general community in Me-tro Manila took effect.
The Luzonwide quarantine order came as coronavirus cases dwindled to just two on Monday, but thousands crowded the border between Metro Manila and neighboring provinces to fly to the National Capital Region for their work.
Duterte reached the decision on Monday during a meeting with the officials concerned at Malacañang.
Fight for life
Explaining his decision to the public in a televised letter, Duterte said that, despite recent developments, it is now important to be very cautious and characterized this as’ battle for life.
After further analysis of worldwide patterns and measures and the need for extreme caution in times like these, I came to the conclusion that more stringent measures are required.
He said he wanted to expand the quarantine to the rest of Luzon, because there were rumors that there were cases of coronavirus in other places on the island.
The government has no luxury of time and is waiting to check whether there is a contagion elsewhere, he said.
The President stressed that this was not martial law, and encouraged the people not to be afraid of the police and the military. But during the Quarantine, they should follow the authorities, he added.
Duterte called on business owners to support their workers by giving them an advance pay for their 13th month or paying them half of their salaries if there is no work.
They could do this as a means at this crucial time of showing solidarity with the Filipino people.
Duterte also called on big companies and the “rich” like businessmen Manny Pangilinan and the Ayalas to consider their workers ‘ flight.